Lecture 3 What is 'animal'? / Animality
Visuality of animals as a way of thinking of animals
Human animal studies
Relationships we have with animals
Implicated ourselves by talking about engaging with animals, with moral
- youtube: "Funny cats"
What is an animal?
- Very much tied to humanity and what it means to be a human
- History of human-animal divide
- Where does this divide come from?
The Little girl in a cat outfit
- She will be the icon as we explore the notion of humanity and animality
Dictionary definition (Mariam Webster)
- What is an animal….?
○ A living thing that is not a human being or plant
○ Any living thing that is not a plant
○ A person who behaves in a wild, aggressive, or unpleasant way
If the human is an animal - then what kind of animal is it?
What is Animality?
□ A quality or nature associated with animals (vitality = soul [key to Descarte's argument]; debates christian
□ The animal nature of human beings
There is a descriptive qualities and characteristics of animals
Synonyms: carnality, physicality, sensuality, boorishness, coarseness, crudeness, grossness, loutishness,
rudeness, barbarity, cruelty, savagery, viciousness, wantonness
□ Historical contingency
□ Colonialism (ideals coming from past)
□ Barbarity and savagery and cruelty = below human, having human qualities, soul, rationality, evolution of ethics
(ideas related to Descartes and the human soul)
□ Wantonness = lacking self control (sexual matters) - often applied to women than men
Raymond Williams - set of values and meanings can create a certain term and feeling that can create association
Lectures Page 1 Raymond Williams - set of values and meanings can create a certain term and feeling that can create association
Tree of life
- Book of genesis (Judeo-Christian tradition) how the world was created, Adam and Eve take central place
- Great chain of being
- Man is made in God's creation (in Judeo-Christian)
○ Dominion over other beings (reign / dominate/ authority /kingdom)
Instrumental / resource, dominion not only mean higher authority, but also for own personal use
○ Certain power and authority is attributed to the human (man)
- Animals don't go to heaven?
○ They don't have souls? …. Some argue that they have temporary souls, when they die, their souls end. Unlike humans,
who have a immortal soul
Rene Descartes (1596-1650) -> ethics / humanity
- Questions humanity
- Cogito ergo sum = (means) "I think , therefore I am" - is Descartes argument of how we are human
- Thinking man statue "The Thinker" (c. 1880) Auguste Rodio Le Penseur
- Bonus question: piece of music - solo Tchaikovsky
- Reason tattoo
- Descartes is interested in the ethical reasoning of the human and rationality of humans
○ The ability to reason = distinctly human trait, not associated with